Our Blog

July 20, 2016

People Have the Power

Monday was the CBA and CBF’s 18th Annual Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon, where about 700 attendees helped us honor seven unsung heroes of our profession who make us all proud to be part of Chicago’s legal community. This was the third year that we started the Luncheon with a song to help set a theme for the day, and this year’s song was Patti Smith’s classic, People Have the Power. The song is a particularly fitting tribute to the exemplary pro bono and public service work we celebrate at the Luncheon and highlights two important themes in the ongoing quest to ensure the justice system is truly fair and accessible for everyone.

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July 20, 2016

Let’s Take It Outside: Resolving Conflict Outside of the Courtroom

It’s hard to come to a mutual agreement when you’re fighting about an emotionally charged topic. Especially if that topic is child custody with a former spouse.

Mike and Kelly created a parenting schedule when they first got divorced, but that plan began to erode over time, as did their communication. Kelly prohibited Mike from seeing their daughters on school nights because he didn’t make the girls do their homework when he was with them. Wanting to explore his options, Mike opened a case for mediation with the Center for Conflict Resolution.

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July 20, 2016

Timothy Hufman Accepts the 2016 Morsch Public Service Award

We all know that life can be unfair and sometimes even cruel.

I am reminded of a boy named Julio, whom I met in the 1970s while I was running a group home for teenage boys in New York City. When Julio came to me, he was 15 years old and terribly scarred over his entire face and body due to third-degree burns he suffered as a boy when he was trapped in his Bronx apartment during a fire. Thereafter, whenever he did anything wrong, his parents punished him by holding a lit candle to his face. That abuse continued until his parents threw him out of the home at the age of 15 to fend for himself.

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July 19, 2016

Unsung Pro Bono and Public Service Heroes Honored

Nearly 700 people attended this year’s event held at the Fairmont Hotel Chicago, co-chaired by Kelly McNamara Corley, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at Discover Financial Services, and Rebecca S. Eisner, Partner-in-Charge of Mayer Brown LLP’s Chicago office.

The award recipients represent a broad cross-section of Chicago’s legal community and share an unfaltering commitment to advancing access to justice and inspiring those around them to join the cause. This year’s recipients have fought to alleviate suffering for individuals with mental illness, young people involved in juvenile justice matters, underprivileged senior citizens, families impacted by childhood cancer, victims of consumer fraud, families facing wrongful evictions, and many other people in need in our community.

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July 14, 2016

Illinois has a (stop-gap) budget!

We are happy to report that the temporary budget released funding under the Access to Justice Act to begin developing a central hotline and network of legal assistance that will help thousands of veterans and military families in need throughout the state. Join us in thanking Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the four legislative leaders (Speaker […]

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July 13, 2016

Pro Bono Network

Do you live in Oak Park, Lincoln Park, or Hinsdale?  Attend one of Pro Bono Network‘s upcoming open houses to learn more about how you can connect with like-minded attorneys in your area to provide pro bono services through this innovative organization in partnership with other pro bono and legal aid organizations.

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June 23, 2016

Which Way Is the Camera on Our Phone Facing?

A picture can paint a thousand words. And sometimes a good metaphor or analogy can have an even greater impact. I witnessed a great example of that a few weeks ago when Lisa Foster, the Director of the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice, took out her smart phone and used it as a metaphor for the justice system as the frame for some really thought-provoking remarks.

Ms. Foster demonstrated how she could use the camera on her phone to point it one way and take a selfie, or turn it the other direction and take a picture of the people in front of her. In the justice system, she keenly noted, we take selfies. That is, we look at the system from the perspective of the lawyers, judges and court personnel who are inside of it, not from the perspective of the people who rely on the system for access to justice.

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June 22, 2016

Restoring Justice for the Abused

The world was quick to turn against a Hollywood actress when she spoke out about allegations of domestic violence. Why? Because the alleged abuser is one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors.

The public was quick to point out, But she was recently pictured smiling! Loved ones rushed to his defense, including his ex-wife, In all the years I have known him, he has never been physically abusive with me.

The incident has given advocates a platform to address the biggest misconceptions surrounding domestic violence, including the fact that an abuser does not always have a history of abuse in past relationships.

One of the biggest misconceptions that Denice Markham Wolf, executive director at Life Span, wants to clear up is that domestic violence is not about hitting. Domestic violence, she explains, is about one person having total power and control over the victim, degrading them, and isolating them from family and friends.

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June 20, 2016

Fees, Fines, & Other Barriers to Access to Justice

The Statutory Court Fee Task Force, created as part of the Access to Justice Act, has issued its findings, including legislative recommendations for addressing barriers to access to justice and additional issues associated with fees and other court costs in civil, criminal, and traffic proceedings. The report found, for example, that court fines and fees are constantly increasing and outpacing inflation.

Check out their recommendations and let us know what you think (ainzano@chicagobar.org or 312-554-4952), as they are likely to be among the CBF’s top legislative priorities for the coming year.

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June 16, 2016

CARPLS Training Now Offered Online

Interested in doing pro bono work and want control over your training schedule? CARPLS now offers the substantive law portion (consumer debt, landlord/tenant, domestic relations) of its training online! Complete at your own pace (for up to 3 CLE credits) and then attend an in-person training in July to learn the CARPLS system. To register, or for more information, contact Leslie Wallin at 312.421.4427 or lwallin@carpls.org.

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